Tragos severely punished after misconduct during hazing

Tragos severely punished after misconduct during hazing

President Rianne Letschert: “All this is unacceptable”

07-09-2022 · News

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University withdraws board grants (over 30 thousand euro) from student association Tragos after misconduct during hazing last Saturday. Official ties will also be severed for the time being and they will no longer be welcome at academic sessions such as the foundation day celebrations. In addition, they may not participate in the Inkom 2023, the most important event for the recruitment of new members.

On the evening in question, songs were sung “with racist, sexist and discriminating expressions,” says President Rianne Letschert. She does not want to go into detail, but according to her, it went “very far”. Moreover, aspiring members were only allowed to go to the toilet twice during the evening. “All this is unacceptable. I must be able to guarantee the safety of all our students and this is shocking, this doesn’t fit it at all with the values of our university.”

Things started to move when a report was made (according to 1Limburg, the person reporting the misconduct was a parent, but Letschert doesn’t want to comment on this) to the director of Student Services Centre this week. The director is on the acquaintance-making committee, (Commissie Kennismakingstijden Maastricht, KMTM). The senate at Tragos was immediately asked to clarify. Letschert: “They admitted that things went wrong and said that members had already been sent home on Saturday evening.”

1Limburg, where students apparently made complaints, writes that urine was also thrown around. Male newcomers had to drink beer with sardines, leeks and garlic, causing them to vomit. As the aspiring members were sitting on pallets, they vomited over each other, 1Limburg writes. On a Cheer Channel, an Instagram account where gossip is shared, it states that there are group chats in which “the explicit task was given to feel up women”.

It is clear at any rate that with their behaviour the Conduct Code of the Introduction Period – an official UM document that is signed annually by student associations – has been violated. The document pays attention to issues such as health, sleep and personal integrity. It is not the first time that Tragos has violated the code. In 2016, things went wrong too. The first-years were given too little time to sleep, a girl injured her ankle, and some people burned their tongues on a brew that was too hot. Letschert, rector at the time, gave them a hefty warning: one more violation, even just during the academic year, would mean a reduction of their subsidy by about 8,000 euro. One year later, the conditional sanction was changed into an unconditional because Tragos had again not adhered to the Code of Conduct. One-third of the subside was retracted.

What Letschert now especially hopes is that within Tragos, “but also nationally” (things also went awry at an association in Amsterdam this summer), a serious discussion is started about how we treat one another, “about how a group culture is created”.
The Executive Board expects Tragos to at any rate come up with an improvement plan. “They will need external advice regarding this [at their own expense, ed.]. We will keep a handle on this, because, of course, it mustn’t just be something on paper. We want to be really convinced that they will change their culture. If they are unsuccessful then the sanctions will remain in place.”

Tragos was not available by telephone. Their Instagram account has been removed from the air. The site is down, although an explanation has been published. In it the senate says it is “horribly” shocked by the behaviour of a “few members”. The acquaintance-making evening was temporarily stopped, those present were spoken to and some members had to leave immediately. Eight members have been expelled for an undetermined period.

Author: Wendy Degens

Photo: Observant

Tags: hazing,tragos,student association,rules,punished,punsishments,sanctions,UM Conduct,instagram

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